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AuthorsTaddeucci, J.* 
Spieler, O.* 
Ichihara, M.* 
Dingwell, D. B.* 
Scarlato, P.* 
TitleFlow and fracturing of viscoelastic media under diffusion-driven bubble growth: An analogue experiment for eruptive volcanic conduits
Issue Date2006
Series/Report no./243 (2006)
Keywordsvolcanic conduit
analogue experiment
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.02. Experimental volcanism 
AbstractTo visualize the behavior of erupting magma in volcanic conduits, we performed shock tube experiments on the ductile–brittle response of a viscoelastic medium to diffusion-driven bubble expansion. A sample of shear-thinning magma analogue is saturated by gas Ar under high pressure. On rapid decompression, Ar supersaturation causes bubbles to nucleate, grow, and coalesce in the sample, forcing it to expand, flow, and fracture. Experimental variables include saturation pressure and duration, and shape and lubrication of the flow path. Bubble growth in the experiments controls both flow and fracturing, and is consistent with physical models of magma vesiculation. Two types of fractures are observed: i) sharp fractures along the uppermost rim of the sample, and ii) fractures pervasively diffused throughout the sample. Rim fractures open when shear stress accumulates and strain rate is highest at the margin of the flow (a process already inferred from observations and models to occur in magma). Pervasive fractures originate when wall-friction retards expansion of the sample, causing pressure to build-up in the bubbles. When bubble pressure overcomes wall-friction and the tensile strength of the porous sample, fractures open with a range of morphologies. Both types of fracture open normally to flow direction, and both may heal as the flow proceeds. These experiments also illustrate how the development of pervasive fractures allows exsolving gas to escape from the sample before the generation of a permeable network via other processes, e.g., bubble coalescence. This is an observation that potentially impact the degassing of magma and the transition between explosive and effusive eruptions.
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